4594.010 Searsia F.A. Barkley

RHUS L. p.p.

Moffett, R.O. (2007) Name changes in the Old World Rhus and recognition of Searsia (Anacardiaceae) Bothalia 37(2) 165-175

Description of the genus

Trees, shrubs or suffrutices. Leaves alternate, 3-foliolate. Panicles terminal, axillary or both. Flowers unisexual, rarely bisexual, very small (calyx segments usually less than 1 mm, petals usually less than 2 mm). Male flowers: calyx (4-)5(-6)-partite; petals (4-)5(-6), white, green or yellow; stamens 5; pistillode usually 0. Female flowers: calyx and petals similar to male; staminodes frequently present; ovary usually 1-locular. Styles 3. Fruit a spherical or ovoid and flattened drupe, frequently asymmetrical. Seeds ovoid or reniform, flattened.

Derivation of name: after Paul B. Sears, 1891-1990, who was a renowned stratigraphic palaeontologist, ecologist and head of the Yale School of Botany

Comment: Recent phylogenetic analyses of the Rhus complex using DNA and gene spacers have shown that the genus Searsia is clearly monophyletic and widely separated from Rhus sensu stricto. A further distinction is that Searsia is confined to the Old World (the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia) and Rhus sensu stricto is a New World genus.

Furthermore, with their pinnately compound leaves, drupes with prominent red glandular hairs and resinous mesocarp, the species of Rhus differ from the species of Searsia, which are characterized by ternate, rarely simple or palmate leaves and pale, glabrous or tomentose, drupes with a resinous mesocarp adhering to the bony endocarp.

Searsia is a common genus in the flora area and by no means always an easy one to name. Species of Searsia with toothed leaflets can easily be confused with species of Allophylus. See note 3 for a discussion of the differences.

Worldwide: c. 110 species in the Old World, specifically the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia

Zimbabwe: 20 taxa.

Insects associated with this genus:
Bombycomorpha bifascia (Pale eggarlet, Pepper-tree moth) Food plant
Cirina forda (Emperor moth) Food plant
Comostilopsis stillata (Pink-laced Emerald) Food plant
Eagris sabadius Larval foodplant
Rhodogastria amasis (Tri-coloured tiger) Food plant
Rhodometra sacraria (Vestal) Food plant
Searsia longipes var. longipes

Links to taxa:     View: living plant images - herbarium specimen images - all images for this genus

SpeciesFZ divisionsContent
chirindensis (Baker f.) MoffettW,C,E,SDescription, Image
dentata (Thunb.) F.A. BarkleyW,C,EDescription, Image
gueinzii (Sond.) F.A. BarkleyN,S
kirkii (Oliv.) MoffettN,W,C,E,SDescription, Image
lancea (L.f.) F.A. BarkleyN,W,C,E,SDescription, Image
leptodictya (Diels) T.S. Yi, A.J. Mill. & J.WenN,W,C,E,SDescription, Image
longipes (Engl.) Moffett var. longipes N,C,EDescription, Image
lucens (Hutch.) MoffettN,WDescription, Image
lucida (L.) F.A. BarkleyE,S
magalismontana (Sond.) Moffett subsp. magalismontana W
magalismontana (Sond.) Moffett subsp. trifoliolata (Baker f.) MoffettW,C,SDescription, Image
natalensis (Bernh. ex C. Krauss) F.A. BarkleyW,C,E,SDescription, Image
pyroides (Burch.) Moffett var. gracilis (Engl.) MoffettW,C,E,SDescription, Image
quartiniana (A. Rich.) A.J. Mill.N,W,C,E,SDescription, Image
tenuinervis (Engl.) MoffettN,W,C,E,SDescription, Image
tenuipes (R. Fern. & A. Fern.) Moffett[End][LR-lc]W,C,E,SDescription
tomentosa (L.) F.A. Barkley[LR-lc]EDescription, Image
transvaalensis (Engl.) MoffettE
tumulicola (S. Moore) Moffett var. tumulicola [LR-lc]E
wildii (R. Fern. & A. Fern.) Moffett[End][LR-lc]NDescription

Other sources of information about Searsia:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Searsia
Flora of Caprivi: Searsia
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Searsia
Flora of Malawi: Searsia
Flora of Mozambique: Searsia
Flora of Zambia: Searsia
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Searsia

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Searsia
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Searsia
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Searsia
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Searsia
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Searsia
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Searsia
JSTOR Plant Science: Searsia
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Searsia
Plants of the World Online: Searsia
Tropicos: Searsia
Wikipedia: Searsia

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Genus page: Searsia.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/genus.php?genus_id=883, retrieved 19 May 2024

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